70 votes
Accepted

Why do the titles of scholarly works sometimes begin with the word "on"?

This naming convention extends back to ancient times. Many of Aristotle's (384–322 BC) works are titled On --- Lucretius (99 - 55 BC) wrote De rerum natura or On the Nature of Things In 44 BC Cicero ...
Unrelated's user avatar
  • 4,933
33 votes

What should be used instead of Mister in a formal setting when foreign titles are involved?

This question seems to be more about etiquette than English One of our foreign guests insists on not being called Mister Family_name because he sees it as disrespectful. He has both a PhD and an ...
Greybeard's user avatar
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30 votes

"Dial M for Murder" meaning

It's a take-off on "dial O for operator". For example, in Tennessee Williams' Streetcar Named Desire (1947), we have Blanche: How do I get Western Union? — Operator! Western Union! Stella:...
Peter Shor 's user avatar
25 votes

What does "Mrs" mean when used with a man's name?

Josh61 is 100% right, however, I would like to point out that even today, in formal circumstances especially, it's still custom and valid to address a wife as Mrs. [Husband Name]. My wife goes by: ...
coteyr's user avatar
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24 votes

Why do the titles of scholarly works sometimes begin with the word "on"?

The phenomenon appears to be a result of translation that dates back to early Greek writings. Early works by Greek writers would introduce a topic with Περὶ, meaning about, which Latin scholars ...
RaceYouAnytime's user avatar
22 votes

Why do the titles of scholarly works sometimes begin with the word "on"?

While all the other answers are very well thought out, let me point out a case where "On" keeps a title from being misleading. The paper On large subsets of 𝔽qn with no three-term arithmetic ...
Peter Shor 's user avatar
13 votes

What should be used instead of Mister in a formal setting when foreign titles are involved?

If someone has a foreign title they wish to be addressed by, which doesn't translate well, then the custom I normally see is to use that title directly in English, as a loanword. English is often very ...
Soron's user avatar
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11 votes

What should be used instead of Mister in a formal setting when foreign titles are involved?

What is the appropriate way to address a foreign noble? There is no single answer to this. The usual British form of address Lord [title] is specific to the English language. You say your guest's ...
Kate Bunting's user avatar
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9 votes

How do I title a section pertaining to "things I can do" on my CV?

They're still Skills or Key Skills. In an American resume, these items would most likely be grouped under Skills, which would be a catch-all for the things you can do. For instance, The Muse advises ...
TaliesinMerlin's user avatar
8 votes

"Dial M for Murder" meaning

It's a reference to the letters you sometimes see next to the numbers of a telephone pad (a rotary dial in those days). When telephone numbers were first introduced people were much more comfortable ...
Hugh Meyers's user avatar
  • 1,232
8 votes

What's the general rule for dropping articles in article & section titles or in figure & table captions?

Rather than exact rules, you will find some guidelines for omitting articles in titles and headlines. More often, articles about writing a good title for a journal paper or article talk about ...
DjinTonic's user avatar
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8 votes
Accepted

What does this Economist article title “Paris-on-sea” mean?

"Paris-on-Sea" is a longstanding English nickname for the French beach resort Deauville, which is regarded as possessing a Parisian chic and sophistication. The editor borrows that familiar nickname ...
StoneyB on hiatus's user avatar
8 votes

What does "How I learned to stop worrying and love the bomb" mean?

The subtitle is probably a sarcastic allusion to Dale Carnegie's self-help book, How to Stop Worrying and Start Living (1948). A recent edition of the book asserts on the front cover, "OVER SIX ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
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6 votes

Specific name for double PhD

No, there's no special title for such a situation. Someone with a double doctorate still just has the title "Doctor," in prefix form generally abbreviated to "Dr.": "Dr. So-and-So." (By the way, ...
herisson's user avatar
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6 votes

Why do the titles of scholarly works sometimes begin with the word "on"?

Contra some previous posters I would submit that there is a semantic distinction in using the prepostion 'on' in the title, and that it concerns not the subject of said text, so much as what kind of ...
JValgreen's user avatar
6 votes
Accepted

How do I title a section pertaining to "things I can do" on my CV?

While one could argue that they are synonyms, I think Expertise and Skills work well together. Or, better yet, Expertise and Strengths. If you need an additional heading for the applications you work ...
Tinfoil Hat's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

Chapter names for two opposite things

In the spirit of keeping the writing simple, you can go with: Analysis of algorithms Comparison of algorithms Under the 'Analysis' section, you can examine each algorithm in the required ...
Haxiel's user avatar
  • 209
5 votes
Accepted

Is Dr. the same as Doctor? Or how to distinguish these two?

'Dr.' is simply an abbreviation for the title 'Doctor'. It can be used in any of its senses - medical doctor, recipient of doctorate degree, or whatever. The only way to discover in which sense it is ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
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5 votes
Accepted

Question marks in titles, in particular those beginning 'How to ...'

In regards to: How to ease Afghanistan’s progress in cricket Is it grammatical, if we don't put question mark in questions of titles? I think this blog title should have been like this: How to ease ...
Roger Sinasohn's user avatar
5 votes
Accepted

"Memoirs" in book title - singular or plural verb?

It's a book title, referring to a single book. The content of the title is irrelevant to the grammar of the sentence. When constructing the sentence, think of the title as simply Title: Title ...
Jason Bassford's user avatar
5 votes

What are the different rules for capitalization of prepositions in titles?

Sometimes they just look like prepositions, but are not. That’s why even though one title with the word in in it would not capitalize that word, another would do so when in is not a preposition there. ...
tchrist's user avatar
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5 votes

What should be used instead of Mister in a formal setting when foreign titles are involved?

As others have said, "Doctor" is entirely normal for someone with a PhD. In writing or formally introducing him you might consider calling him "Firstname Lastname, PhD" everywhere. ...
DJClayworth's user avatar
  • 25.8k
4 votes

Putting a title in quotes -- is it still italicized?

Style guide preferences on the question of whether to use quotation marks or italics for titles of works vary depending on the guide and on the type of work that the title is associated with. But ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
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4 votes

What is an idiom for better than "textbook case", "by the book" or "best practices"

I'd like to say XYZ does not follow the best practices of virality but it doing way better. An idiom, phrase or even a word would work. Is anything wrong with saying it's doing it in a unorthodox yet ...
Denis de Bernardy's user avatar
4 votes

Naming Duos: Why "Hall and Oates" over "Oates and Hall"?

I don't think you're going to find one definitive answer. Some combinations of words "sound better" because of their stress rhythm. Some are easier to say because of the amount you have to move ...
Kevin Workman's user avatar
4 votes

Title-Casing "ad hoc"

This is a question about publishing conventions, not the English Language. Title casing isn't a linguistic issue, in the same way that "How to best perm my dog's hair" doesn't come under "Biology". ...
Max Williams's user avatar
  • 23.1k
4 votes

A question regarding colon usage twice in a title

The Chicago Manual of Style, sixteenth edition (2010) addresses this question somewhat obliquely, by limiting its style advice to what it refers to "two subtitles" within a title. After ...
Sven Yargs's user avatar
  • 163k
4 votes
Accepted

Are chapter headings and other semantically smaller parts as the title capitalized?

According to CMoS and APA (two popular style guides), some lower-level headings aren't capitalised in headline-style. Chicago Manual of Style 16th edition (headings by level): Centered, ...
Lawrence's user avatar
  • 38.7k
4 votes

Why do the titles of scholarly works sometimes begin with the word "on"?

It appears to be due to the stylistic preference of the author. When you see a title like that, you can think of it as meaning "On the subject of ...." So using your example, you could think of it ...
Devil07's user avatar
  • 4,046

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